Cooking Middle Eastern

Cooking Middle Eastern

Can I cook tikka masala?

I just posted on the McDougall Friends group on Facebook, I am getting tired of cooking the same old thing, week after week. Thankfully this IS something I have complete control over as I do a majority of the cooking. I am still open to preparing potato enchiladas for my wife, since she loves the flavor of them. Scouring the many websites I have collected and the few vegan/vegetarian cookbooks I have purchased, I am still at somewhat of a loss when it comes to cooking Middle Eastern recipes

Recently I was turned on to a Middle Eastern market called International Foods in Concord, CA (that is how Yelp lists it). I had been searching for chickpea flour and fava beans at a reasonable price. This small nondescript market had a wide variety of freshly cook foods, breads and ingredients for many Middle Eastern/Indian recipes. I was able to purchase chana besan and fava beans, as an added bonus, freshly cooked naan bread. The best part of this bread, it’s fat free, egg free (dairy), cholesterol free and contains no preservatives! It seems to be “McDougall Approved!”

Since changing my diet I have made a few different batches of hummus, all oil free. Some have told me it’s not hummus without oil. To each their own I guess I don’t use the “heart healthy” *sarcasm* olive oil since I don’t want the added fat and have done away with adding oil to my recipes. Another dish I am preparing better, baked falafel either in patty or ball form. Patties seem to bake better with a subtle crunch revealing a warm, moist inside. One dish I failed with, but will prepare better next time, dal palak.With this sudden find of naan bread I have been looking for dishes to accompany this wonderful tasting bread. I will also mention tabbouleh, but that was a box mix I purchased at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

Today I found a tofu tikka masala recipe that I hope to add to my list of favorites. While the original recipe includes 2 1/2 tablespoons of EVOO (thanks Rachel!), 1/2 a tablespoon to bake the tofu with and 2 tablespoons for the gravy that will be slathered over the dish. I don’t think this recipe will miss that amount of oil and definitely won’t add to the flavor. While I am not sure I an sell my wife on the tofu, I will still give it a shot. I will serve it over rice and if she isn’t into the tofu, then mixed veggies might work.

Drink the Water

LaCroix Sparkling Water

Drink the water!

It’s been tough the past few days, as I have been working 12 hour days starting at 2am, but it was my decision. Coming off days off last Wednesday I had to call in sick with a stomach virus I picked up from my son who spent the better past of 3 days in a lethargic state with diarrhea and vomiting. I called into work sick Thursday morning at 4am when my alarm went off and remained in bed until 1am Friday morning. Much like my son I had to drink the water and had no solid food for about 36 hours.

During that time I started looked forward to my upcoming physical. It will have been about 12 months since I last went and just short of 11 months that my doctor put me on Simvastin, a medication I took myself off of about 4 weeks later due to side effects. It wasn’t long after that I made the necessary changes in my diet to clean up my health. Between July (really October when I changed my diet) and December last year I saw a 64 point drop in total cholesterol. That number further improved a few months later. Now, as I approach my physical I am taking further steps to improve my health, but am I degrading my lifestyle?

In March I had resolved to decrease the amount of beer I drank. I can’t say I have followed through very well. While we don’t go out and socialize often, when we do it usually includes BBQ and beer. What does get me are my days off when I work around the house. While I do keep busy I consistently find myself cracking open a tall, cold one all to frequently. It’s not a drinking problem, but it’s no problem to 12 fall by the wayside in a day and a half. This continues to pack on the empty calories, carbohydrates that end up turning to sugar and being processed by the liver. This in turn (I believe) has kept my triglyceride level elevated.

I still have 16 days before I go in for my next lipid panel, but have not popped the cap on a beer since last Monday (6 days). Hopefully I can continue this trend through the 30th and onwards. There is nothing wrong with a drink on occasion but I do believe it’s having an adverse effect on my health. To supplement this habit, I have started drinking more La Croix Sparkling Water, which comes flavored. It’s all natural, no sugar or sodium. It seems to hit the spot when I am working around the house and I find myself frequenting the fridge just as often to quench that thirst.